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Damages Extended By The Illinois Appellate Court In Wrongful Birth Lawsuits

The Illinois Appellate Court, First District has extended damages in Wrongful Birth lawsuits to include the damages the victim will sustain after reaching the age of majority.  This is a significant extension beyond the victim’s usual rights in these types of cases which were first recognized in Illinois in Siemieniec v. Lutheran General Hospital, 117 Ill.2d 230 (1987). 

Now parents of severely disabled children who were born with disabilities due to the negligence of a doctor who failed to recognize the same in utero can recover damages necessary to care for their disabled child after that child reaches the age of majority.  The court stated that from a public policy perspective the financial burden of this type of care should be borne by the tortfeasor and not the state or the chilld’s parents.  Additionally, it now appears that the law in Illinois might recognize damages for the negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Justice O’Brien wrote “that such claims are judged by the ”zone-of-physical danger” rule set in Rickey v. Chicago Transit Authority, 98 Ill.2d 546 (1983), which provides that before someone can recover for emotional injuries stemming from the tortious injury of a third person, they must show that they were endangered by the defendants’ negligence and suffered a physical injury because of it” Clark v. Children’s Mem. Hosp., 1-08-0610 (Ill.App. 4-9-2009)